Periander, tyrant of Corinth, succeeded his father Cypselus probably about 625 B. C, died about 585. At first his reign was mild, but afterward it became exceedingly oppressive. Herodotus says that Periander sent to ask Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, what mode of government it was safest to adopt in order to rule with security. Thrasybulus took the messenger into a corn field, and walking through it broke off and threw away all the ears that overtopped the rest. Periander thenceforth constantly depressed the power of the higher orders by putting to death or banishing prominent citizens. He suppressed common tables, clubs, and public education, shed much blood, and made exorbitant exactions. On one occasion, it is said, the women of Corinth, whom he had invited to a religious festival, were stripped by his order of their rich attire and ornaments. Aristotle speaks of him as the first who brought to a system the art of ruling despotically. His foreign policy was vigorous and successful. According to Herodotus, deceived by a scandalous report, he had put to death his wife Melissa, the daughter of Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus, though he was warmly attached to her; and when in after years his two sons visited the court of the latter, their grandfather told them the manner of their mother's death.

The younger son, Lycophron, on his return refused to have any intercourse with his father; whereupon Peri-ander sent him away to Oorcyra, invaded Epidaurus, reduced it, and took Procles prisoner. His elder son Cypselus being unfit to rule, he endeavored to persuade Lycophron to return and take charge of the kingdom; and finally the latter consented on condition that his father should abdicate and live in Oorcyra. But the inhabitants of Oorcyra, wishing to keep Pe-riander away, put his son to death. Periander is said to have died of grief, at the age of 80. He was usually reckoned among the seven sages of Greece, although some placed in his stead Myson of Chenaa in Laconia.